What Is A Nitric Oxide Supplement: The Benefits and What to Expect

You may have heard a lot of talk about nitric oxide boosters recently. We'll help you sort through the facts and help you decide if they're for you.

Dr. Faysal Yafi
Board certified Urologist specializing in sexual health
by Dr. Faysal Yafi Last updated 11/30/2023




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With so many supplments out there for everything from weight loss to harder erections, choosing the right one can be difficult.

And though many supplements are little more than sugar pills, some actually do provide real health benefits.

Examples of these supplements are:

  • Vitamin D
  • Glucosamine
  • Whey protein powder

You can add nitric oxide supplements to that list, too.

Quick FAQs

Yes, overwhelmingly, yes! If you're looking for a supplement that delivers on its promises, then nitric oxide boosters will not disappoint.

While all products are different, the primary ingredient of most nitric oxide boosters is L-Arginine.

For the most part, no. Though the side effects are rare, diarrhea and stomach cramps are most common.

Yes, they absolutely can. Nitric oxide boosters like those found in VitaFLUX from Promescent have been proven to improve erectile functioning.

We care about it because it's a vasodilator; it relaxes the blood vessels.

This is hugely important for many reasons, including stress reductions, fighting erectile dysfunction, and heart health.

Nitric oxide boosting supplements and foods help your body increase nitric oxide and thereby reap the benefits.

What is a nitric oxide supplement?

Illustration of different types of nitric oxide boosters

A nitric oxide booster explains itself - it's a food or supplement that helps increase nitric oxide levels in the body.

Often, these supplements also help your body use nitric oxide better by making receptor cells more receptive to the molecule.

Boosters usually come in the form of a powder or a pill, something to be taken with whatever other supplements you use now.

Nitric oxide booster benefits include (but are not limited to):

  • Stronger erections
  • Better orgasms
  • Better recovery after exercise
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering bad cholesterol
  • Fighting colds and respiratory infection
  • Better exercise performance

There's even some indication that supplementing with a nitric oxide booster can help with type 2 diabetes.

This is most likely due to cellular damage. Nitric oxide production is hampered in people with diabetes.

This causes a feedback loop where cells become too impaired to create nitric oxide properly but desperately need it to function well.

Boosting it can be a big help.

Adding these supplements to your diet and exercise plan can deliver powerful health benefits throughout your body.

From increased energy to better sexual satisfaction, there's a tremendous amount of value to be gained.

What is a nitric oxide supplement used for?

Nitric oxide boosters in persons hand

Nitric oxide boosting supplements are used for a variety of reasons, and not all of them deal with your penis.

For the many men dealing with ED, nitric oxide can be a blessing, but it's not just for men with ED. Everyone can benefit from Nitric Oxide.

Especially as we age, our bodies simply produce less, and as a result, we have to deal with the fallout.

Even if you're not dealing with heart or erection problems, increased nitric oxide can help reduce the effects of aging on these processes.

Here are some of the most prominent benefits of nitric oxide boosting supplements.

Healthy heart

Nitric oxide booster can lower blood pressure and are heart healthy

Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels, and it helps with the movement and activation of smooth and cardiac muscle tissue.

This helps the heart function better in general and takes stress off of it as well.

Some studies indicate that better functioning endothelial cells - those are the little guys that line your blood vessels - can reduce plaque accumulation.

If you increase the blood saturation of nitric oxide, you can also improve blood pressure.

Your endothelial cells are highly regenerative, but the dumb things we do like smoking, bad diets, and drinking will make them die off.

Less endothelial (or rather, highly damaged ones) are less stretchy.

This makes it easier for plaque to develop and harder for clots to pass, both of which lead to heart attacks down the road.

Nitric oxide also plays a role in reducing bad cholesterol, another marker of potential heart disease.

The combination of reduced bad cholesterol and better functioning endothelial cells can greatly reduce your chances of strokes or cardiac events.

An overall reduction in blood pressure is another benefit of supplementing with a nitric oxide booster.

Reducing High blood pressure

Man that takes nitric oxide boosters getting blood pressure checked

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pressing against your vessel walls.

When it's too high, the resistance makes your heart work harder, which in turn makes you more likely to suffer a cardiac event.

High blood pressure is one of the best predictors of a stroke or heart attack, next to diabetes.

Anything you can do to reduce it long-term should be taken into consideration.

Of course, dietary changes like adding more vegetables and reducing your carbs are good, as is exercise.

Adding in a nitric oxide booster helps as well by again increasing the elasticity of your endothelial cells.

Minor habit changes can mitigate blood vessel damage from high blood pressure, including adding arginine-based nitric oxide boosters.

Studies indicate that organisms with reduced nitric oxide production have reduced vasodilation ability.

If your veins and arteries can dilate effectively, they're more likely to get blocked by a clot or plaque.

Though some people simply have less ability to use nitric oxide, which is an unfortunate genetic situation, the most likely culprit is impaired creation of it.

As we stated before, aging, bad habits, and a sedentary lifestyle all damage our cells in a way that inhibits nitric oxide production.

Less of this gas means more damage, which then means less nitric oxide.

It's a runaway train, but being aware of how it occurs can help you jump off.

Increase erectile function

stethoscope on banana to represent healthy erectile function because of nitric oxide boosters

The one reason that people take nitric oxide boosting supplements probably more than any other is to help them achieve stronger, better erections.

Because ED is often a result of the narrowing and inflexibility of the vessels that supply blood to the penis, supplements can help.

Improved vessel dilation helps increase blood flow to the penis, helping you achieve and maintain an erection.

Additionally, the release of nitric oxide signals smooth muscle cells to trigger, further encouraging the penis to get hard. 

When you're able to enjoy sex without worrying about maintaining an erection, you will be more satisfied.

Many men report better orgasms after using boosters and better sexual performance.

Lifestyle changes, coupled with a nitric oxide supplement, can dramatically impact your sex life.

Though there's no guarantee that supplements alone will improve your ED, they will almost always help to some degree with biologically-caused issues.

Better exercise recovery

Illustration emphasizing how nitric oxide boosters can help with muscle recovery

You know how after you've done a heavy leg day and your quads are screaming the next day?

That delayed onset muscle soreness has kept many men from hitting the gym on consecutive days, which can be a death knell for a new routine.

Muscle soreness is largely inevitable, but one of the best treatments for it is to get moving again.

This is because using those muscles increases the blood supply to them, and that blood brings oxygen and takes away waste.

All of this activity helps them recover more quickly and hurt for a shorter duration.

Supplementing with a nitric oxide booster can be critical to increasing blood flow and helping muscles recover more quickly.

Faster recovery means you'll never miss a leg day again.

There's also evidence that you'll experience better exercise performance, helping you get those last few minutes or reps.

How do Nitric Oxide supplements work?

What's in nitric oxide boosters? 

Nitric oxide boosters do not contain nitric oxide themselves - it's a gas, so that wouldn't work. 

Instead, these supplements contain potent amounts of compounds that help your body produce more nitric oxide.

The majority of these supplements primarily contain l-arginine, an amino acid used in protein synthesis.

It's also a precursor to nitric oxide, which is the primary reason for its inclusion.

Though your body can make l-arginine from any protein-containing food, the more that's available, the more nitric oxide that can be made.

While you could just eat more protein, l-arginine isn't present in sufficient quantities for the volume of food you'd need to ingest; most people find it easier to take a supplement.

Another common inclusion in nitric oxide boosters is l-carnitine.

This chemical compound is normally made in the organs of humans, and it's necessary for turning fat into usable energy.

If you've ever done the keto diet, you should be thanking l-carnitine for keeping you from going into hibernation.

Though l-carnitine doesn't affect the production of nitric oxide, the reason for including it is very straightforward: it's important for testosterone production.

Men who supplement this compound have more energy, better sperm counts, healthier sperm, and build muscle more easily.

It's a potent supplement for men with low testosterone or those concerned about age-related conditions (like ED).

L-citrulline rounds out most nitric oxide boosters.

This amino acid has an even more potent role in the creation of nitric oxide and by itself is a common natural tool for erectile dysfunction.

Some studies indicate

that mild ED can be treated successfully with L-citrulline supplements, and again this is due to the dilating effects of increased nitric oxide.

Most people can usually feel the effects within a week of starting them.

The increased amount of these compounds needs time to affect the body, but as long as you keep taking them, the benefits should remain.

There's no tolerance risk, as all that these boosters are doing is increasing nitric oxide in the blood; your body won't blunt that effect.

Man that takes nitric oxide boosters stretching before exercise

Nitric oxide booster benefits can be keenly felt when in conjunction with other ED-busting changes, such as:

  • Improved diet - eat less sugar and seed oils, and more meat, eggs, and vegetables. Sugar and oils create inflammatory states in the body that can damage your blood vessels and contribute to heart disease and ED.
  • Getting more exercise - even 30 minutes a day can be a lifesaver. Any amount of movement is great, but a dedicated workout routine can make you live longer, feel better, and have better sex.
  • Getting more sleep - if you're cutting down on sleep, you're going to suffer across the board. Getting 7+ hours a night is essential for most people to ward off disease and operate well.
  • Cut out smoking and binge drinking - these are obvious but difficult vices to break. Regardless, both smoking and drinking too much have a profound impact on your erectile health.

What are the benefits of taking a nitric oxide supplement?

Nitric oxide boosters will increase the amount of the gas in your blood, and with that comes tried-and-true benefits.

Whether you're dealing with erectile dysfunction or simply want to perform better in the gym and bedroom, boosters can help.

Improved lung function in cystic fibrosis patients

Cystic fibrosis is characterized by decreased lung function and inflammation.

While most inflammatory lung diseases show an increased amount of exhaled nitric oxide, it's lower in CF.

While it's not well understood why there's less nitric oxide in cystic fibrosis patients, more nitric oxide does seem to be a potential therapeutic intervention.

Increasing nitric oxide production could have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the lungs of CF patients.

This is likely due to the dilating effects of the gas.

Better lung function can mean better quality of life and decreased infections.

Though more research is needed, it does seem promising.

Reduced side effects from memory loss

Nitric oxide is impaired for people with diabetes, epilepsy, and a host of other neurodegenerative diseases.

Though it's not the only causal agent, this reduction does play a role in reduced memory recollection and formation.

When nitric oxide is needed for neural processes, it's made basically on demand.

This makes it both a strange sort of neurotransmitter and also vitally important.

Some studies indicate that mental processes can slow down if there's not enough available nitric oxide.

It was thought that Alzheimer's and other dementia-adjacent diseases were simply guarantees of age for a long time.

However, the reduced nitric oxide production that comes with aging may be more to blame.

Since nitric oxide plays an important role in clearing out dangerous beta-amyloid proteins from the brain, reduced availability can impair memory.

Studies done on animals suggested a link between memory impairment and nitric oxide reduction.

At first, the connection was thought to be because of reduced blood flow.

But when scientists compensated for circulation and normalized blood flow, animals with less nitric oxide concentration performed more poorly on memory tests.

Though more research needs to be done, it is clear that nitric oxide can play an important part in memory formation and recall.

Weight loss

Person on scale that lost weight with the help of nitric oxide boosters

Nitric oxide boosters help your body create more nitric oxide, enabling you to exercise longer and recover faster.

Since many contain l-carnitine as well, this boost of testosterone can also improve muscle development and metabolism.

More muscle means a higher metabolic rate, better sleep, and enhanced calorie burn.

When you combine better physical functioning with higher testosterone and better sleep, you have a recipe that helps you burn fat.

As we stated before, these supplements work best when combined with lifestyle changes.

Why not pair a nitric oxide booster with exercise and dietary improvements and see your weight loss take off?

Shortened recovery from injury or trauma

Man with injured leg healing faster thanks to nitric oxide boosters

Recovery from exercise isn't the only benefit of nitric oxide boosters.

Because nitric oxide is a vasodilator, it increases blood flow all over the body.

Whether you're recovering from exercise or an injury, blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients critical to healing.

Better circulation means faster recovery and shortened downtime.

Nitric oxide boosting supplements can help improve exercise performance as well, leading to better sessions and increased stamina.

Preventing colds

Inflammatory states in the respiratory system create more nitric oxide and, in turn, seem to benefit from it.

Infections from the common cold to COVID-19 all cause the body to release large amounts of nitric oxide to help relax the lungs and fight the infection.

Increased amounts of nitric oxide are present with nearly all lung viruses and create an immune response that clears them more quickly.

Nitric oxide boosters can help recovery from colds

In one study of rhinoviruses (the common cold), higher levels of nitric oxide made the virus resolve more quickly and exhibit less severe symptoms.

This is largely because nitric oxide triggers cytokines, which are some of the body's first defenders when infection strikes.

Since it plays a key role in immune rustling, supplementing with a nitric oxide booster during colds can help speed recovery time.

Helping with altitude sickness

Man hiking that took nitric oxide boosters to help with altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is a result of reduced oxygen levels at higher elevations.

It's marked by sluggishness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and mental fog.

Nitric Oxide can increase lung functioning and blood flow, helping to counter these effects.

For instance, supplementation with nitric oxide before a climb can reduce the impact of altitude sickness.

Many climbers drink beet juice because of its high concentrations of nitrates.

If you're already taking boosters, then you'll probably fare better on your next Himalaya trip than your friends.

Just try not to showboat too much.

Improving diabetes therapy

Diabetic supplies to show that nitric oxide boosters can help with diabetes

In some studies, it appears taking a nitric oxide supplement helped improve insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which cells become resistant to insulin, causing blood sugar to build up.

In turn, your body releases more insulin, which causes systemic inflammation, and damages every organ in the body.

While reducing your sugar intake and exercising are both excellent treatments for type 2 diabetes, nitric oxide appears to help improve your body's response to insulin.

This can slow the progression of diabetes or help you control it.

What's even better is that these supplements can work alongside your diabetes medication.

Together the combination can be extremely beneficial in treating the condition.

Decreasing bad cholesterol

Man with yoga mat about to exercise to reduce bad cholesterol also uses nitric oxide boosters

Almost universally, low-density lipids are considered the "bad" types of cholesterol.

They enter into inflamed endothelial cells and harden to become plaque, which reduces blood flow and primes you for a heart attack.

New research suggests that nitric oxide helps relax the blood vessels, which is believed to reduce plaque formation directly.

It also seems to decrease the amount of LDL in the blood as well.

Since nitric oxide is safe to supplement, there's no reason to not take boosters if you're concerned about your cholesterol.

Health risks and side effects

For the most part, nitric oxide boosting supplements only cause mild problems, if any.

One of the biggest, most common complaints of taking these supplements is diarrhea or stomach cramps.

This is primarily due to the concentrations of the amino acids in a single dose, which can be harsh on the stomach.

You can counter this by taking your doses with a meal or milk and plenty of water.

If this doesn't work, try dropping your dosage down a bit or spreading the pills throughout the day.

Many supplements require you to take 3+ pills a few times a day, but the goal is to keep the levels consistent.

Splitting the dosage up shouldn't be an issue.

Another potential issue is that, since nitric oxide can lower blood pressure, you could end up lowering it too much.

If you're already taking medicine to reduce your blood pressure, speak with your doctor before you start taking a boosting supplement.

Too much reduction in your BP can cause fainting and dizzy spells, both things you want to avoid.

In terms of health risks, there aren't any.

As long as the pills are well-tolerated and you don't have any kind of underlying health effects, nitric oxide boosters are a fantastic health supplement.


Healthy man running that takes nitric oxide boosters

Whether you suffer from ED or you're looking to combat the aggression of aging, nitric oxide can be hugely beneficial.

Consider taking a booster to increase your performance in the bedroom, and you'll likely see a boost in performance at the gym as well.

Since nitric oxide helps improve circulation, you'll find a systemic boost is achievable when supplementing with boosters.

Additionally, the best nitric oxide booster will add in testosterone-enhancing l-carnitine tartare.

Combining this with nitric oxide precursors can profoundly affect weight loss, muscle growth, energy levels, and libido.

Since it's safe and well-tolerated, a well-formulated nitric oxide booster can be the supplement you've been looking for to take your performance and wellbeing to the next level.

Dr. Faysal Yafi

Dr. Faysal Yafi

Dr. Yafi is Associate Professor of Urology, Chief of Men’s Health and Reconstructive Urology, Director of Men’s Health and Newport Urology at the University of California, Irvine. His practice specializes in men’s health, erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, Peyronie’s disease, prosthetic surgery, male voiding dysfunction and male infertility. Dr. Yafi has over 150 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is the current Chair of the SMSNA scientific committee and co-Chair of the ISSM Consultations and Guidelines committee. Dr. Yafi earned his medical degree from the American University of Beirut, then completed his internship in General Surgery at the Mayo Clinic, his residency in Urology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and his fellowship in Andrology, Sexual Medicine and Prosthetic Urology at Tulane University.


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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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